We could all use a fresh start after 2020 we had. It is now firmly in the rearview mirror, and we turn our sights toward a new year filled with new promises.
Our Fresh Start series will explore topics to help you kick 2021 in gear and lay the foundation for a successful year over the coming weeks.
To achieve our best, we need to focus on laying a strong foundation for us weather the storms that may surface over the coming year.
Certainly, we don’t want to experience another year like 2020, but we did learn some things that we want to enhance or retire from our lives if we are honest with ourselves.
Usually, we get our journals out or planners at the start of every year and write our goals down.
I am a huge fan of goals and planning, but I am going to start with rest.
You might be asking yourself, why are we starting with rest?
Personally, rest is where I fell short in 2020. The hustle and bustle of dealing with lots of work projects and the COVID pandemic forced me into habits that sacrificed rest.
Rest (or sleep) was not a priority, and when I did slow down long enough, I had a nagging fear of getting sick…so I pressed on.
There is a difference between sleep and Sabbath rest, though.
Studies, books, and researchers have all pointed out that sleep is restorative, and we need it if we are going to pursue big goals.
When your body is deprived of sleep, you operate at levels equal to being legally drunk. We can’t focus, and our brain has to work extra hard on simple tasks, let alone complex ones that we need to perform our jobs.
Developing a good sleeping habit – consistent bedtimes and wake times are important for achieving success.
Sabbath rest is a completely different concept.
Sabbath rest can feel like,
- A gentle sway in a hammock on a warm summer afternoon
- A quiet walk on a trail or in a meadow
- A bike ride where you are alone with your thoughts
- A good book
- A nap
When I went to Trinidad and Tobago on a mission trip with my college, they said when they rested called “liming” around.
The Spanish culture calls it a “siesta.”
Rest is taking a break from the hurried.
Sabbath rest is intentional and purposeful.
At the beginning of time, God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. He did this in six days, and on the seventh – He rested.
The seventh day is powerful – it is our Sabbath day.
The author of Exodus writes,
”You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD. ” — Exodus 31:15a
Most workplaces operate on a Monday to Friday schedule; however, we blurred the lines between our work week and our personal time somewhere along the way.
In fact, the lines got so blurry we don't even stop working. During crisis times like we experienced in 2020, it’s okay to operate differently. However, that was only supposed to be for a while as we worked out the details.
And we wonder why we are tired and exhausted.
God calls us to rest and refresh.
So how do we implement a Sabbath rest in our schedule?
We schedule it.
I realize that might seem odd, but Michael Hyatt says, “what gets scheduled gets done.”
He was talking mostly about tasks, but the principle is the same. By placing Sabbath rest on our calendars, we tell ourselves this is important.
Sabbath rest is a chance to disconnect from the hurried pace of your week, set your phones to the side, and recharge.
When we rest, our bodies and minds have a chance to dream, process, and create.
Sabbath rest looks different for each of us, including the day. Some of you might be saying, Sunday is the prescribed day of rest – it says so in the Bible.
Well, it says on the seventh day, He rested, and traditionally that is Sunday, but in today’s modern world, your Sabbath rest day might be a Tuesday.
Your work schedule may have you working different days and weird hours, so it’s okay if it doesn’t match up with the world’s schedule.
If we have learned anything from the pandemic, we can do things that are different – look at how many churches now have online services versus 2019.
Choosing your Sabbath rest day is between you and God – you don’t need to justify it to anyone else.
Some elements of Sabbath rest may include:
- Scripture reading
- Spending time with family and friends
- Processing the week
- Doing something creative
It’s up to you, but it should involve some spiritual elements.
I encourage you to set an appointment with yourself, put it on your calendar, and experiment for one month. I think you will find the time rewarding and profitable for your soul.
Lord, thank you for creating the Sabbath and us. Please help me to be courageous and set aside time on my calendar for a Sabbath rest. Please use this time to strengthen my relationship with you as we get a fresh start in 2021. Amen!